Guidance for Teaching during Turbulent Times
As teachers, we face many challenges right now. Such as an ongoing pandemic, economic turmoil, anti-Black violence, social unrest, and heightened student stress and anxiety. It can be difficult to know how to move forward. How do we engage these turbulent times in our teaching? And how can we bring this context into our classes in a way that’s productive for our course goals? Supportive of students learning, and mindful of our own time and well-being.
It can be difficult to know where to start. But it’s important to remember that these challenges are not insurmountable. They can provide opportunities for deepening our teaching practice and expanding our engagement with students. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this blog, we’ll provide guidance on how to teach during difficult times that benefits students and supports teaching goals.
Strategies & Practices for Teaching during Turbulent times:
When it comes to teaching in turbulent times, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each of us is grappling with our own unique set of challenges and opportunities. As we continue to explore these questions. We thought it might be helpful to share some strategies that have worked well for us in our teaching.
One approach is to always connect to the larger conversations happening in our fields and disciplines. What are new research is emerging? What are the big questions that people are asking? Bringing these conversations into our classrooms can help us stay relevant and current. It can also provide a more complex and layered context for our students’ learning.
Another key strategy is to create a safe space for open dialog and reflection. In times of turbulence, it’s more important than ever for students to feel comfortable voicing their thoughts and feelings. We can create a space where students can be open and transparent with their emotions. Teachers should also actively listen to students and create opportunities for discussion. Below In this blog, I will be discussing a few strategies and guidance for teaching in turbulent times.
1. Support Student Success & Well-Being:
It’s important to take leadership in turbulent times to support both your students’ success and their well-being. This may include adopting flexible attendance policies; providing additional accommodations for test-taking; allowing more time for assignments; and taking a more lenient approach to academic integrity.
Furthermore, teachers should be thinking about how they grade students’ work. As many of our students may be struggling in unprecedented ways. Consider adopting grading criteria that are clearer, less rigid, and that make room for mistakes and learning. Even if it is at the expense of meeting course objectives.
It’s important for leading in turbulent times and proactively maintain communication with your students about their progress. And also make yourself available for them outside of class. Check-in regularly to ensure that they have the support they need, whether via virtual office hours or through email. Additionally, provide additional opportunities to discuss their challenges as they experience them in real time; doing this will help build trust and foster a sense of belonging among your class members.
2. Be Proactive & Flexible
One of the most important things you can do as a teacher is to be proactive and flexible. You want to anticipate potential issues proactively, and prepare yourself for whatever might come up. This includes being open to shifting course goals, topics, assessments, assignments, or timelines if needed.
It’s also important to be mindful of your own time. Set boundaries and expectations around work hours that you can reasonably abide by. Make sure you have enough time to think about the topics in your course. And how they may need to be adjusted based on current events. Also, remember that it’s ok not to have all the answers. It is impossible to know everything in a rapidly changing world. Reach out when you need assignment help from colleagues so that your students benefit from the best possible learning experience.
3. Connect Context with the Work of the Class
Start by considering the given context about the specific subject of your course and its goals. Ask yourself, how does the context help us explore, illuminate, or complicate the topics we’re studying? Answering this question will require some creativity and experimentation. But it can help you design meaningful learning experiences that connect course content with students’ current realities.
For instance, if you’re teaching a humanities course about activism, explore anti-Black violence in 2020. It provides an opportunity to discuss social movements like Black Lives Matter and relevant theories of oppression. Or if you’re teaching a biology course, exploring the ongoing pandemic discussions on emerging diseases, population growth, and global interdependence.
If you find it difficult to connect the work of your class to the context, you can take help from academic writing service. It won’t just make it more relevant, it could also open up multiple avenues for engagement. You could supplement readings with recent news articles or documentary films related to these topics. Encourage students to come up with examples from their everyday life. And give them opportunities to reflect on what they are seeing and experiencing nowadays. It require students to consider current events as they write essays or undertake research projects.
4. Facilitate Productive & Respectful Interaction
It can be a challenge to facilitate productive and respectful interactions across different perspectives. Acknowledge your students’ perspectives, but also remind them that, to actively engage with the material and each other. It’s important to consider a range of opinions. Grounding discussions in course content helps maintain focus and keep conversations on track.
Model approaches for engaging in civil discourse. You may want to introduce or use existing activities or protocols that foster inclusive dialog (e.g., workshops, and seminars). Additionally, think of how you can create greater space and encourage open dialog. But still, preserve the learning goals of the course and minimize disruption within class time. University assignment help Encourage students to look for common ground as they debate different points of view around a particular issue or question.
5. Facilitate Difficult Moments
These days, students are looking to find ways to make sense of things, and provide support to each other. However, navigating discussions in class that address difficult topics can be extremely challenging. As an instructor, it’s important to create a safe space for dialog. Ensures that all students have the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or retaliation.
One way I’ve been successful in facilitating difficult moments is by structuring class time around what I call “Socratic Circles”. Rather than having a one-sided discussion with a single answer at the end. This approach allows for a deep dialog between classmates that promotes critical thinking. And also encourages students to draw on prior knowledge for informed debate.
Additionally, I recommend creating ground rules with your students at the beginning of the semester. So that everyone knows how to act and respond in times when difficult topics arise. Being explicit about these expectations can help ensure everyone feels comfortable participating in class s also facilitates students and provides proper guidance.
6. Provide Emotional Outlets
If it feels appropriate to your course goals and student community, providing students with emotional outlets can be beneficial. Acknowledging that these are hard times. The teacher might invite students to take a few minutes at the start or end of class to reflect on what’s happening in their lives right now. What challenges they’re facing, and what support they might need?
You could also create space for students to process how the topics of your class connect with the current context. For example, a discussion about how current events shape our understanding of criminal justice in the U.S. Rather than design a full lesson plan around this connection, you could simply invite discussion or timed writing if it feels appropriate. Contemplation and reflection can often provide healing moments and help us grapple with difficulty, something we all need right now!
When students are stressed and anxious, they are not able to concentrate on their studies or do their work. They can seek the best assignment writing service help online to secure their grades and save their semester.
7. Self-Care for Teachers during Challenging Times
Making sure you’re taking care of yourself is essential during these times. Although it is challenging while teaching your classes. But there are some self-care strategies that you can incorporate into your teaching practice.
First, start by taking some time for yourself each day. Even if it’s just a few minutes of stepping away from screen and go for a walk or having a cup of tea. This can make a huge difference in how you feel and how you approach the rest of your day.
Second, connect with others as much as possible. Reach out to colleagues, family, and friends. Even if it’s just a quick text or video call during work hours. Try to stay connected and help maintain some balance in these turbulent times.
Finally, be sure to recognize small successes throughout the day and give yourself credit whenever possible; this can help to boost your confidence and keep you motivated when things get tougher.
In short, if we are to thrive in these turbulent times, we need to be intentional about how we bring context into our teaching. We need to be thoughtful about the questions we ask our students. The ways we build community in our classrooms. And the resources we draw on to support our teaching. We also need to take care of ourselves in these difficult times, by setting clear boundaries. Taking breaks when needed, and reaching out for support when we need it.